For a few weeks I’ve been reading about the new guidelines the city of Sacramento has issued in Old City Cemetery. The recent designation of the gold rush era cemetery has triggered new rules that would require the many historic roses planted there to be removed or drastically cut back. The new guidelines state that to better preserve the stone monuments and head stones the city has ordered arbors, trellises, and decorative arches to be removed and plants be removed from plots. Markers and monuments now need to be visible in all directions. No plants of any type can be draping a headstone and plants can not be planted closer that twelve inches to headstones. A recent news article reported that so far about 200 rosebushes had been severely cut back and 10 bushes removed. Another 75 – 100 bushes likely will need to be relocated.
This cemetery was established in 1849 when Captain John Sutter donated acreage for this purpose, and thousands of early settlers are buried here. Over the years the cemetery expanded to its nearly 60 acres. The grounds were landscaped in the Victorian garden style that was popular at that time. For decades the graves and gardens have co-existed, and have been lovingly cared for by volunteers. Many of the antique roses were carried in wagon trains by early pioneers to California. This world famous rose garden features more than 500 varieties of roses. Several of these can only be found in this cemetery garden which contains the largest collection of rare and endangered roses in the United States.
Never having visited this particular cemetery, I wanted to see for myself what all the controversy was about. Won’t you join me as I wander?It really is quite charming and full of character. The roses most certainly enhance the beauty of this cemetery garden that is the final resting place for over 25,000 individuals. I can bet that the garden volunteers are frantically doing their best to propagate and relocate these historical jewels. I wish them much success with that endeavor.
There will be an Open Garden event on April 9th from 9:30 – 2:00. This may be the last time to view the climbing roses as they are now.